17 May 2005

Thousands of PNG children without school after volcano evacuation

8:25 am on 17 May 2005

In Papua New Guinea, about 3,000 children evacuated after the Manam volcano erupted, are still waiting for their schools to be built.

The children are among 12,000 people who had to be evacuated to mainland care centres near Madang when the island's volcano began erupting in October.

Papua New Guinea's Minister of Intergovernmental Relations and Madang MP, Sir Peter Barter, says only 2,000 children from primary to secondary level are now back at school.

"It's not going really well. Mangem care centre has their classrooms fully operational, with teachers and fully equipped classrooms. But the carecentre school at Asurumba, they're very slow at getting started, as school classrooms aren't finished for whatever reason. And the same thing applies at Potsdam, so far kids have not gone back to school."

Sir Peter Barter says containers filled with school text books should arrive in Madang in a week's time.